6 Keys to Hiring the Right Energy Consultant
The hiring of energy consultants has become the norm for large C&I businesses in the US and Europe and is rapidly gaining momentum in Mexico. Many CEO’s recognize that energy is a huge cost center and with the advent of energy deregulation Mexico, many are starting to see the value of bringing in an experienced energy adviser to help mitigate risk, facilitate savings, ensure reliability and understand the regulatory framework. Over the past year, many C&I businesses in Mexico have begun to benefit from experienced and objective counsel when it comes to energy supply, contracting and compliance.
The question is how do you choose the right energy consultant? What experience and attributes should they possess? What is the difference between a broker and an energy advisor? With change, comes opportunities, but also significant risk and financial impact associated with failing to manage energy effectively. Listed below, are the key attributes you should consider when evaluating a potential energy advisor:
- Do they have the proven experience and knowledge: This requirement may appear obvious; however, few have the deep expertise or record of accomplishment to create the value for large users of energy or natural gas. Because Mexico is a lucrative market, many will say they have the expertise, but it is more than just buying power.
- They should be able to demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the energy market, its participants, market mechanisms under different legal schemes and technology. Therefore, it is important to check their credentials, because the truth is, you would be better served if they worked in other markets previously. It is not so much where the Mexico energy market is today, but what experience they must have to help you navigate the future.
Strategic Thinking: Energy management deserves the same critical and strategic thinking as any other business activity. This means that the energy consultant needs to develop and implement robust energy strategies tailored to your company’s budget, risk tolerances, and the organizational short-term and long-term energy needs and financial objectives. This strategic thinking needs to be based on a profound knowledge of the market and understanding the idiosyncrasies and nuances of each client.
Independence: Another very important attribute for energy consultants is their independence. This means that the energy consultant has no affiliation or preference to any generator or qualified supplier, since this could skew his or her analysis. If this bias is eliminated or nonexistent, then the interests and objectives of both the energy-consulting firm and their clients can be aligned. This alignment of interest should ensure the energy consultant stays engaged throughout the duration of your energy contract and provide objective advice to safeguard your interests.
Commitment: In Acclaim’s experience both in the US for more than17 years and in Mexico for the last 3 years, we suggest you avoid consultants or brokers rushing to complete a project or providing services on a transactional basis, due to the risks and variables required to manage energy effectively. An energy consultant needs to be committed rather than seeking a quick turnaround and completion of the project. Energy procurement and the negotiation of supply contracts are not high-frequency activities where the parties can get in and out almost instantly as if they were trading stocks. These two activities require focus and determination on behalf of the energy consultant to guarantee the best outcome for the client.
Strong learners: Having extensive experience and knowledge is critical because the market and regulations evolve; therefore, it is important for them to demonstrate how they have assisted companies adjust to change. Today’s energy market requires continuous learning, , so the recommendations they make must come from deep market understanding, bill analysis, technology, legal, etc. To benefit from a comprehensive view of the market, most good consultants will dedicate a team to help protect and ensure your business enjoys the best options.
Accountability: Energy consultants must convert their words into actions. This means honoring their commitments to their customers and suppliers. It also means operating with transparency and proven systems and processes, so they can share how they reached their recommendations or conclusions. After all, you want and need an energy advisor that is collaborative, transparent and will to defend and take complete responsibility for their actions.
Strategic energy management can be very complicated, but when you have the right people on your team, with deep industry and functional expertise you will be in a better position to protect your business and your organizations bottom-line.
If you currently hold a position of leadership in an organization that uses large amount of electricity or natural gas, it is not too late to engage a proven expert to reap the rewards deregulation provides. Our firm has been delivering significant results and value to C&I customers across North America (including customer savings of 15-40%) for more than 15 years, and we have a 97% customer retention rate, so if you want to have an exploratory call to see what we can do for your business, please contact us.